Tuesday 19 June 2007

Plan to move Guinness brewery 'mere speculation'

DIAGEO, the firm which produces Guinness, has not ruled out moving its Irish operation from St James's Gate, the site where the black stuff has been brewed for almost 250 years.

The firm said it has begun an assessment of its brewing operations in Ireland and that "nothing has been ruled out". Media reports that Diageo Plc had plans to move production to a greenfield site on the outskirts of the capital were described as "pure speculation" by a spokeswoman.

"The Diageo brewing business is considering a number of important investment decisions on upgrading and renewing its brewing facilities in Ireland in the coming years," the firm said in a statement.

The review is set to take up to eight months. Lease

The site, where Arthur Guinness took out a 9,000-year lease on a disused brewery in 1759, has grown into what the brewer describes as "a prime 64-acre slice of Dublin". Media reports suggested the land could fetch up to €3bn.

Sales of Guinness, which gets its trademark dark colour from roasted barley, fell about 7pc in Europe in the final six months of last year. However, global sales are up about 3pc, the spokeswoman said.

Diageo operations in Dundalk and Kilkenny are included in the review.

Irish Independent

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